Back-to-School Mental Health Tips for Parents

by | Aug 31, 2023

The hustle and bustle of the back-to-school season can be both exciting and challenging for families. As parents, it’s vital to recognize that mental health plays a significant role in your life as well as your children’s overall well-being.

Together, we’ll explore some essential tips to help you support both yourself and your child’s mental health. By prioritizing your emotional health, you will be able to withstand and overcome barriers that may arise in your life.

Recognizing Signs of Stress and Anxiety

Returning back-to-school can be a difficult transition. Recognition of the signs of stress and anxiety is the first step in addressing your own or child’s mental health.

Although simply stated, this can oftentimes be difficult to identify in all people. Keep an eye out for any emotional changes, such as increased irritability or withdrawal.

Be aware of physical symptoms like headaches or stomachaches as they may also indicate underlying stress. Performance changes in the classroom may also be an indicator of stress or anxiety.

It’s important to maintain open communication with your child as well as yourself to continue promoting positive emotional wellness behaviors.

Nutritional Considerations

For your children, its important that they receive adequate amounts of energy, nutrients and mineral to continue to support. This is also very important in terms of mental health and mood.

The link between diet and mood is a crucial but often overlooked aspect of mental health.

Importantly, ensure your child and yourself are receiving the correct and adequate amount of energy (calories) each day. Then, choose and prepare foods that support brain health, such as those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

Plan nutritious meals for your child that supports muscle growth and vigorous types of activity, such as lean protein sources.

Encouraging Social Connections

According to the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, friendships or social connections have a profound impact on mental health. It is important to assist your child in fostering positive relationships by teaching empathy and effective communication.

During this back-to-school season, guide your children to focus on the similarities in people and not the differences. Encourage your child to join in on group activities, sports, or other socially connected opportunities.

By having a strong social network that includes friends and family, adults and children are more likely to overcome experienced barriers to their goals.

Promoting Physical Activity

Whether for you or your child, more physical activity is always better. Although, it is often perceived that in order to maintain health or grow you must maintain a higher level of intensity during activity. This is not necessarily true.

According to the CDC, adults and children should obtain a minimum a certain level of activity to maintain health or in the case of children, grow adequately. Adults and children should each receive 30 minutes of activity daily, at least.

Children, depending on age should include slightly more vigorous activity that includes jumping, climbing and running to support bone health. Check out the CDC recommendations for physical activity here! 

Recognizing the Role of Technology

It is important to be mindful of the impact of excessive screen time on mental health. Set clear screen time limits and boundaries for your child and yourself.

However, also leverage technology for positive mental health resources, such as meditation apps or educational games.

Technology as a resource for productivity is very important but its also equally important to find balance with screen breaks. Some devices allow you to set screen time limits in the settings of your device.

The YEHS Solution

As parents, it’s our responsibility to prioritize our children’s mental health during the back-to-school season.

By recognizing signs of stress, promoting physical activity, and encouraging social connections, we can create an environment that nurtures their emotional well-being.

Remember, your own self-care is intertwined with your child’s mental wellness. Fostering a positive mindset and understanding the impact of technology are also key facets of supporting them.

By monitoring their progress and seeking professional guidance, when necessary, we can ensure they receive the best care possible.

Furthermore, if you are not sure where to start, download the Albumhealth app, take the YEHS Questionnaire and get started managing your emotional health today.